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Saratoga Reads announces latest selection

Saratoga Reads is returning to its roots with the selection of Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed” as the 2013-2014 book choice.

Ten years ago when the city-wide book club began it chosen Hosseini’s debut novel, “The Kite Runner,” as its inaugural read. “Now, in celebration of our 10th year, we come full circle with the selection of the author’s third novel, And the Mountains Echoed,” Saratoga Reads board Chairwoman Tabitha Owthwein said in a statement. “We return to a familiar voice and will traverse the world once again through Hosseini’s powerful storytelling.”

The new novel is set in rural Afghanistan in 1952 and covers six decades with a web of stories that explore how families nurture, wound, betray, honor and sacrifice, according to a release. "Following its characters and the ramifications of their choices around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward," says the release.

In the “Boston Globe,” Eric Leibetrau wrote, “After six years, beloved novelist Khaled Hosseini returns to the rugged landscape of his home country, Afghanistan, which he so evocatively brought to life in his two previous bestsellers.”

"In a series of interlocking story lines with shifting viewpoints, Hosseini delves into the joys, sorrows, and betrayals that alternately bind and fracture families," Leibetrau wrote. "Once again, Hosseini’s lovingly rendered Afghanistan takes center stage, but in this book he extends his examination to encompass how the Afghan identity affects his characters’ decisions and lives in unfamiliar environments.”

Wendy Smith of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Although Khaled Hosseini has lived in the United States since he was 15, he remains engaged in the struggles of his native Afghanistan. His beautifully written, masterfully crafted new book, And the Mountain Echoed, spans nearly 60 years of Afghan history as it investigates the consequences of a desperate act that scars two young lives and resonates through many others.”

The companion book for younger readers are “The Sandwich Swap,” by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio, “Extra Credit,” by Andrew Clements and “The Breadwinner,” by Deborah Ellis.

Orthwein said that reading as a community nurtures and strengthens local connections. “We hope the community will open our new selected book and take the journey with us,” she said.

The last decade of books chosen by Saratoga Reads have included “Wicked,” by Gregory Maguire, “Caramelo” by Sandra Cisneros, “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen and “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd,

Saratoga Reads is a collaboration between Skidmore College and the Saratoga Springs community.

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